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Newfoundland and Labrador Travel Guide
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You Outta Master These Quirky Customs If You Want to Hang Out Here

Dress in a mummer's disguise, get “screeched in” as an honorary Newfoundlander, and enjoy these unique local traditions and tasty delicacies.

Newfoundland, Canada, is full of quirky, distinctive, and delicious local traditions. Celebrate the way Newfoundlanders do by enjoying a traditional Jigg’s Dinner, dancing ‘til dawn at a kitchen party, and crafting your best disguise as you try your hand at the art of mummering. Of course, the province has its own unique and delicious delicacies as well, including bakeapples, partridgeberries, and other wild fruits; Quidi Vidi beer made from actual icebergs; and fried cod tongues—which aren’t tongues at all. But the ultimate distinction of becoming an honorary Newfoundlander is something you can earn in a one-of-a-kind, not-to-be-missed tradition: the screech-in. Be sure to check out these local traditions and delicacies to enjoy a slice of life, Newfoundland-style.

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PHOTO: Jenny Parsons Owner of the Merchant Warehouse
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Get Screeched in to Become an Honorary Newfoundlander

WHERE: Newfoundland, Canada

Eat a bite of bologna, smooch a codfish, down a shot of Screech rum, and you just might earn the distinction of becoming an honorary Newfoundlander. Get screeched in for an official welcome to the province. The tradition ties in local elements, as well as local dialect like the phrase, “Long, may your big jib draw,” which is essentially a good luck wish that refers to a sail full of wind. Trapper John’s Museum & Pub in St. John’s is a classic “screech-in” destination, or get screeched in at a kitchen party at The Ocean View Hotel in Rocky Harbour.

INSIDER TIPEvery screech-in is slightly different, so be prepared for a variety of takes on local tradition.

 

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PHOTO: axxerd/IStock
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Jigg's Dinner

WHERE: Newfoundland, Canada

A stick-to-your-ribs Jigg’s Dinner is a Newfoundland tradition. Family members and friends gather to connect and share a feast at this special meal which often is held on a Sunday. The meal typically includes salt beef, potatoes, turnips, carrots, cabbage, and other filling foods along with a variety of condiments like mustard pickles and pickled beets. If you don’t score an invite to someone’s home, check out The Jack Ladder in Bonne Bay Big Pond or Aroma’s in Corner Brook, which sometimes serve Jigg’s Dinners.

INSIDER TIPBe sure to check with each restaurant about its schedule since Jigg’s Dinner is typically not a daily offering; some establishments require advanced reservations.

 

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PHOTO: courtesy Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism
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Kitchen Parties

WHERE: Newfoundland, Canada

Gather with locals and visitors alike to share music, songs, stories of times past and present, and an all-around good time at an old-fashioned Newfoundland kitchen party. In St. John’s, Quidi Vidi Brewery offers kitchen parties on Friday nights, complete with Irish music, camaraderie, and plenty of the brewery’s finest beer. In Rocky Harbour, The Ocean View Hotel is a good place to find a kitchen party with singing, stories, and more several nights a week from May to October.

INSIDER TIPKitchen parties are a popular place to get screeched in as an honorary Newfoundlander.

 

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PHOTO: Photo Credit Ritchie Perez for the Mummers Festival
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Dress in Disguise as a Mummer

WHERE: Newfoundland, Canada

Crafting your disguise is just the first part of the mummering fun. This tradition has Newfoundlanders trying to make themselves taller or shorter, while wrapping up in quilts, lumpy costumes, strange headwear, and other oddities. Once the disguise is complete, participants go visit friends and family members attempting to hide their voice and identity, while people try and guess who their mysterious visitors are. Once they guess correctly, everyone enjoys food, drinks, and merriment. Traditionally, mummering occurs around Christmas, and each year, St. John’s hosts an annual Mummers Festival. For summer revelers, The Merchant Warehouse in Woody Point offers a “Dancing with the Mummers” party, typically held in July during the Bonne Bay Regatta.

INSIDER TIPBe sure to disguise your voice when you’re in costume to avoid revealing your identity.

 

 

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PHOTO: Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism
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Eat Bakeapples, Partridgeberries, and Other Wild Fruits

WHERE: Newfoundland, Canada

Bakeapples and partridgeberries are two of Newfoundland’s best known wild berries, used in everything from desserts to vinegar. They are ripe in late summer and fall, when foragers flock to pick them. Tour Gros Morne offers a Cultural Explorer Day Tour which includes foraging for wild berries and mushrooms along community trails, and The Taste of Gros Morne Finer Things Food Tour includes a dessert of cheesecake with wild berries when the tour visits The Oceans Room Restaurant in Rocky Harbour. The Dark Tickle Company is known for its array of jams, spreads, and vinegars using bakeapple, partridgeberry, squashberry, and wild blueberries. This summer, the company is offering new tours that allow visitors to check out a natural berry bog and learn how to make jam to bring home.

INSIDER TIPThe Dark Tickle Company’s new berry- and jam-making tours run June through September.

 

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PHOTO: Light Keepers Cafe Ltd
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Nibble on Fried Cod Tongues

A “cod tongue” isn’t a tongue at all—it’s actually a small neck muscle in the fish. It was once considered a “toss away” part, but today these small bites are a local delicacy. Sample them at an array of restaurants throughout Newfoundland, where they are often fried and served as appetizers. Try them at Lightkeepers Cafe in St. Anthony and in restaurants throughout the province.

INSIDER TIPCod tongues can be served as an appetizer or as a main course.

 

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PHOTO: Todd Wight(CC BY 2.0)/Flickr
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Drink Iceberg Beer

WHERE: Quidi Vidi, St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada

Quench your thirst with beer brewed from icebergs at Quidi Vidi Brewing Company. The brewery uses water sourced from 20,000-year-old icebergs—the very same icebergs which drift down Newfoundland’s coast each year—to craft its famous Iceberg Beer. Served in distinctive cobalt blue bottles, the beer gives a whole new meaning to sipping on an ice-cold beer.

INSIDER TIPThis 16-tap establishment is the province’s largest brewery, so try a multitude of brews when you stop by for a tasting.

 

 

 

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